There are dozens of ways to carry a concealed handgun these days. You can carry in your pockets. In your undershirt. With an evening gown. Under your desk. Under your belt. Over your belt. Across your shoulders. Even in your underwear.
With all those options, most trainers still recommend good, old-fashioned belt carry. Is it right for you?
If you idolized John Wayne, Annie Oakley, or Roy Rogers in your childhood fantasies, all of your cowboy quick-draw fantasies come true with belt carry. While you may not be as rustic looking as Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, you will be walking around carrying a real gun on your hip. And that’s gotta count for something in terms of living out a childhood fantasy.
Waist carry methods also give you excellent control over your firearms — at almost all times. One noteworthy exception is when you’re predisposed on the porcelain throne. You have to plan for that particular quality time, so your shiny new gun doesn’t clatter onto the bathroom floor. This is especially embarrassing — and kind of gross — in public restrooms. Nothing will make you want to sell your gun faster.
Driving a car with this carry method can help you discover new levels of pain and suffering from gun-induced kidney massage. And if you are wearing your seat belt like a good boy or girl, the strap relative to your body position can make it really difficult to get to your gun easily. You may want to keep the cigarette lighter charged as a last-ditch defense for close encounters of the criminal kind!
You’ll need what concealed carry commandos call a “cover garment.” In plain English, this is some form of upper body clothing that is untucked. It could be a shirt, coat or jacket, or better yet, a photographers vest. You know, the ones with just under 37 million pockets and zippers? Because everyone who wants to look natural and not out of place wears those. They fit in just about anywhere. Disney World, the mall, city parks, golf courses, and of course, Star Trek conventions. But as fashionable as they are, chances are, you will never be photographed by GQ or Glamour magazine while wearing a fake photographers vest. So give up that dream.
A serious opinion about photographers vests: Please note the key word, opinion. There’s a lot of internet commando debate about photographers vests. Many experienced veterans of not even one gunfight deride them as “shoot me first” vests. The idea is that “everyone” knows that someone wearing a photographers vest is carrying a gun. Here’s the opinion part. I’m not so sure about that. To those of us who are geeky about things like holsters (!) it is a clue that a person is carrying concealed. To anyone else? Doubt it. Think about all the people you encounter in your daily travels. Even the ones that aren’t performing the “walking while texting” interpretive dance. Are they really paying all that much attention to you? Even outside of New York City? Are they going to look at your wardrobe choice and make judgements about your armament status? Doubt it. If you like it, and it works for you, wear it!
If you choose to carry a gun with an ‘inside the waistband’ holster, you really need to buy pants at least a full size or two larger than normal. That means that the hot clothing salesperson on whom you have a secret crush will think you’re fatter than you really are. Just something to consider.